The US states that are at their best during winter

Asia's Tech News Daily

Central Park and Skyline in Winter – Susanne Neumann/iStockphoto

The US is in the British public's top five favourite holiday destinations, with around 3.8 million of us visiting each year. So, after 18 months of being all but shut out entirely, UK travellers will undoubtedly be rushing back to America's shores come November 8 when the current travel ban is finally lifted.

A shopping trip to New York will feature high on many winter wishlists. Christmas cheer, in short supply in 2021, can reach its full potential on the city’s ice rinks, gazing at its window displays or sipping mulled wine in its markets. Yet upstate also has plenty to recommend.

In fact, it could be reasonably argued that several states are at their best over the cooler months: snowfall in the Rockies will whet the appetites of skiers and snowboarders, New Year's Eve celebrations reach hedonistic heights in Vegas, and New England's quaint towns and villages are at their prettiest.

So why not celebrate our two countries' reunion with a trip across the Atlantic this winter? From Boston to the Texas coast, here are some holiday suggestions to get you started.

Florida

Where better to get children excited for the frivolities of Christmas than in bejewelled theme parks? Disney World Florida is celebrating its 50th anniversary, so the seasonal celebrations should prove particularly glitzy this year. Festivities kick off on November 12, with events across the resort: at Magic Kingdom, young-at-heart visitors will enjoy highlights such as ‘Disney Very Merriest After Hours’ – this includes a parade and fireworks and runs from 9pm on select nights between November 8 and December 21. Orlando is easily combined with a couple of nights in Miami. Quieter beaches and milder weather make the party city a winning winter prospect (particularly for New Year’s Eve).

Families could layer the two with a sweet filling of Palm Beach on Scott Dunn’s 13-night self-drive ‘Florida with Kids’ trip for four, from £5,300pp (020 8682 5099; scottdunn.com). Alternatively, the Florida Keys can be tacked onto a Disney sojourn. Key West offers local events such as Christmas light tours and The Lighted Boat Parade – locals pretty up their boats with twinkling lights and other Yuletide paraphernalia, then cruise through Key West Bight Marina showing off their efforts.

disney world florida – Getty

New York

Head to the Big Apple just after Thanksgiving for the full Christmas experience. Soak up pleasingly gaudy decorations – such as those at Dyker Heights, Brooklyn – and traditional displays at Central Park and Saks Fifth Avenue. Present shopping becomes an occasion thanks to department store window dressing (stop off at Macy’s and Bloomingdales), and you pick up handmade gifts at one of the glut of seasonal markets. Beyond the city – as long as you prepare for the chill – a trip upstate will open up a frosted wonderland. A frozen over Lake Placid, the Catskills and Letchworth State Park are among the spots that look most picturesque with a coating of snow. A hire car will likely be required, but there's a greater pleasure in taking the time to explore on your own.

If you prefer a quick hit of the city, however, Traifinders offers five nights downtown at the Hotel 50 Bowery on the Lower East Side, with direct flights from London for £649pp, based on two adults sharing (020 7368 1200; trailfinders.com). Its rooftop bar will allow you to drink up the drama of the skyline, preferably with a Manhattan in hand.

Colorado

If you've been keeping your skis on ice over the last couple of years, it’s time to start warming up for the slopes. How about heading for America’s favourite snow state? Crystal Ski Holidays has a week’s self-catering holiday in Colorado, staying at the Pine Ridge Condos in Breckenridge for £1,870pp, based on two sharing, including flights (020 8610 3123; crystalski.co.uk). This departs on January 12, 2022 (and must be booked online). Breckenridge’s downtown area is a historic district that dates back to the Gold Rush of the 1850s, and is filled with Victorian architecture. For the uninitiated, the resort has five peaks, some 2,908 skiing acres and 187 trails. It opens on November 12 for its 60th anniversary season.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of alternative activities to try that rely on Breckenridge’s ample snowfall, such as dogsledding, snowmobiling, fat biking, sledding and tubing. If you’re tempted to explore more of Colorado’s natural delights, it is rich in thermal springs, including Orvis Hot Springs, Strawberry Park and Pagosa Springs.

colorado – Getty

Nevada

Seeking a touch of hedonism? Then see out the year in Las Vegas. Prepare to be overwhelmed by glitz in the city’s best-known hotels. The Bellagio Conservatory typically features a 40ft-plus living tree and a menagerie of animal decorations – think polar bears and penguins. Outside, its fountains are timed to seasonal songs, such as Santa Baby. For something a little different, head to the Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Botanical Cactus Garden, which is a 15-minute drive from the Strip. Wander around the three acres of cacti, which are lit up with over a million twinkling lights, while sipping a soothing cup of hot chocolate.

A Vegas New Year will make up for the lost year(s) of celebration. The entire strip is closed to traffic in preparation for a giant party, complete with choreographed fireworks. Virgin Atlantic offers five nights at the Aria Resort and Casino (check out its Winter Wonderland display) with return flights from Heathrow, departing December 28, from £1,856pp (0345 454 1111; virginatlantic.com). Cast your mind beyond the state’s biggest draw, however, and there’s pleasure to be found in the quirkier corners. Winter fairs are popular in Nevada, for example. Take the Fire and Ice Winter Festival in the city of Ely, a little later in January (15-17).

Massachusetts

We’d be remiss to exclude New England, but picking out one recommendation feels near impossible. Ultimately, Boston clinches it though. Christmas markets spring up all over the city come December, with European-style offerings and all-American craft fairs among the mix. Religious or not, attending a seasonal service – such as Hanukkah or Midnight Mass – can imbue you with a sense of community and calm. Boston’s selection of historic churches and synagogues offer up plenty of options. If you visit before December 25, be sure to stock up on unusual gifts in the boutiques of Fort Point, Beacon Hill and North and South End. British Airways Holidays offers four nights at the Royal Sonesta Boston from £1,529pp, travelling on selected dates in January, including return flights from Heathrow (0344 493 0787; britishairways.com).

The adventurous can rent a car to explore further. The Mohawk Trail State Forest is around two hours and 20 minutes drive from the city. Try the mile-and-a-quarter hike on the Mohican-Mohawk Trail, to suit all abilities – time the walk at sunset or sunrise for optimum atmosphere. Quaint towns and cities, filled with wood-panelled houses and sprinkled with festive lights, should also feature on a seasonal itinerary. How about Shelburne Falls? It’s a sleepy spot on the trail (approximately two hours' drive from Boston); streets will be chock-full of coloured lights and candles.

boston christmas – Getty

Texas

If you’ve already experienced the classic New York Christmas, the Lone Star State’s traditions may intrigue. Galveston, for example, turns into a Winter Wonder Island with some 50 days of events between November and January. Highlights include Dickens on the Strand (during which a city street is turned into Victorian London), a schedule of seasonal performances at The Grand 1894 Opera House and an ice sculpture event at Moody Gardens.

The Austin Trail of Lights is also quite the spectacle, and runs from November 27 to December 31 this (its 57th) year. It’s a drive-through experience, with more than two million lights, 70 display tunnels and 90 light-bedecked trees to enjoy. Meanwhile, in Dallas, the Christmas Parade takes place on December 4, with dancers, floats and plenty else to enjoy. Tickets range from $25-$100 (£18-£72). Should you plan to tick off Christmas events around the state, British Airways offers a return flights to Dallas and seven days of car hire from £852pp (0844 493 0787; britishairways.com)

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